Controversies in Sexual Medicine: Clinical and Basic Science Research in Sexual Medicine Must Rely, in Part, on Pharmaceutical Funding?


Emmanuele A. Jannini, MD, Course of Endocrinology and Medical Sexology, Department of Experimental Medicine, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, 67100, Italy. Tel: +39 0862433530; Fax: +39 0862433523; E-mail:


Introduction.  The conflict of interest in sexual medicine (SM) is a never-ending debate between scientists who consider possible and fruitful the partnership between science and the pharmaceutical industry (pharma) and others who are afraid that such a relationship might contaminate the veracity of scientific research. The aim of this Controversy is to appreciate opinions from both perspectives.

Methods.  Four scientists (three from academic or private practice and one employee of the industry) with expertise in the area of SM were asked to contribute with their opinions.

Main Outcome Measure.  Expert opinion supported by the critical review of the currently available literature.

Result.  Expert #1, who is Controversy's section editor, and Expert #3 consider industry involvement in the field of SM problematic but potentially synergistic with the aim of science. On the other side, the Experts #2 and 4 argue that it is almost impossible to serve two masters. They believe that the pharma involved both in basic and applied research may jeopardize the independent evolution of the young SM.

Conclusions.  After reading this Controversy, The Journal of Sexual Medicine's readers should be able to judge by themselves the claims of the discussants and if the partnership between industry and SM is a risk or a potential benefit. Jannini EA, Eardley I, Sand M, and Hackett G. Clinical and basic science research in sexual medicine must rely, in part, on pharmaceutical funding?. J Sex Med 2010;7:2331–2337.